Classes 2015

Bonnie Gale is available in 2015 to teach the following half, one and two day courses in traditional willow basketry and living willow and rustic structures.

Bonnie Gale has been a traditional willow basketmaker for the past 31 years. She has two degrees in City Planning and one in Landscape Architecture and is engaged in many forms of spatial three-dimensional design. In the past 10 years, she has started to build living willow structures (living baskets on a larger scale) as well as specialized design pieces. Her work has appeared in HOUSE AND GARDEN magazine (March 2006), VOGUE LIVING (Fall/Winter 2006) and VOGUE (January 2012). Her work is exhibited nationally and she is the recipient of a great number of awards, including a NYFA Artist's Fellowship in 1999. Bonnie is available to teach in the following four ways: (1) on an individual basis; (2) in small group tutorial basis or (3) for a guild or (4) in a convention setting. Please inquire about the daily teaching rate. Travel and room and board are additional expenses. All these classes show a materials fee and that fee is per individual student in addition to the teaching fee. The workshops and classes, listed below, can be combined in any manner for a multiday session. The skill levels are noted in the descriptions. Please contact Bonnie to discuss your particular needs.

Local Classes in Guilford, New York

In 2015, Bonnie will teach on the small group tutorial basis in Guilford, New York. Please note that some of these dates are weekdays. You may come for one or both days.

• FEBRUARY 21-22
• MARCH 14-15
• MARCH 28-29
• APRIL 11-12
• MAY 16-17
• JUNE 13-14
• JULY 25-26
• AUGUST 29-30
• OCTOBER 10-11

Students can choose to make whatever they wish. Consequently, in every class, many different baskets or living structures are being made simultaneously. There is no specific date set for a single basket class. The tuition rate is $95 per day and materials are an extra cost. To secure your place in a class, please send a 50% tuition deposit (for example, the deposit would be $95 on a two day class), check payable to “Bonnie Gale” to 412 County Road 31, Norwich, New York 13815. Inexpensive local accommodation is available.

National Classes taught by Bonnie Gale

• Basket Weaver’s Retreat: “Woven Together in Western Kentucky”, Falls of Rough, Kentucky, March 5-7
• NCBA, Raleigh, North Carolina,  March 19-22
• Northeast Basketmakers Gathering, Enfield, Connecticut, April 24-26
• Fletcher Farm School, Ludlow, Vermont, August-September
• Eliott School of Fine and Applied Art, Boston, Massachusetts, August 15-16
• Fall Weave, Dayton, Ohio, September 24-26
• PennJersey Basketry Guild, New Jersey, November 6-8
• John C. Campbell Folk School, North Carolina, May 8-14, 2016

Half Day Basketry Courses

Polish Bread Basket by Bonnie Gale

Polish Bread Basket

All Levels | 13”x13”x3” | $45

This basket is made in unpeeled willow and is based on the Polish Tatzca basket. It is useful on a table to hold bread. Six groups of rods are woven into a hexagon and then the rods are curved around and woven. It is a fun basket to weave!

Willow Tray by Bonnie Gale

Willow Tray

All Levels | 14” x 8” x 0.5” | $39

This lovely tray/trivet is made with unpeeled willow. Students are given a prepared carved and dried hoop. Double vertical ribs are laid in and then horizontal weavers are woven alternatively. Pairing/twining weave is made around the whole tray. The ribs are then tied off and trimmed. This basket was first shown to me by Wendy Jensen.

Woven Willow Wreaths by Bonnie Gale

Woven Willow Wreaths

All Levels | Approximately 30 inches in diameter varies | $55

This unique wreath is made with unpeeled willow. It starts with weaving a hoop and then adding weavers from the left and then the right. As a result, pockets are created into which embellishments can be pushed. This is a completely all-occasion wreath and can be reused from one celebration to the next! Seasonal embellishments are also offered in this workshop.

Danish Fruit Basket by Bonnie Gale

Willow Sphere

All Levels | Approximately 20 inches in diameter varies | $55

This sphere starts with the weaving of a small base in pairing weave. Single stakes are then inserted and gathered at the top. Then random weave commences. A lot of fun! They can be made to any size and a whole family can be created! These spheres are very popular in the garden. Weather proofing will be discussed.

Willow Baby Rattles by Bonnie Gale

Exploring Baby Rattles

All Levels | 2”x2”x4” (varies) | $30

In this workshop, several designs of baby rattles will be made. The rattle is ancient in origin. The seven willows represent the seven virtues while the seven pebbles contained by the willows represent the seven deadly sins. Hence, the willows contain and balance the sins and provide good luck. The techniques of different rattle design will be explored. Peeled willow will be used.

Spoon and Candle Basket by Bonnie Gale

Spoon and Candle Basket

Beginner | 4”x4”x9” | $32

Using a variety of different colored willow, students will use a loaned mold for the making of the basket. From a simple slath, the basket is woven in randing weave, ending with a simple trac border and a roped handle. This basket is good for spoons and candles when the basket is attached to a wall.

Sciathog Irish Potato Straining Basket by Bonnie Gale

Sciathog (Irish Potato Straining Basket) 

All Levels | 13”x13”x4”| $48

This classic Irish frame basket is traditionally used for straining and serving boiled potatoes. Pre-carved and dried rims are provided for students. Students will carve ribs and weave with different colored homegrown willows. This basket is nice for fruit.

Skeined Willow Earrings Basket by Bonnie Gale

Skeined Willow Earrings

All Levels | 1 1/4”x1 1/4”x1/4” | $55

A very attractive pair of skeined willow earrings will be made with provided white ash splint core and prepared skein. Skein is very thin, long and even width strips of willow. The cores will be wrapped with skein in a variety of patterns and colors. French hook wires will be provided.


One Day Basketry Courses

Really Random Small Basket by Bonnie Gale

Really Random Lrage Basket by Bonnie Gale

Really Random

All Levels | 8”x10”x9” (4-6 hours) or 11”x14”x10” (full day) | $55 or $75

In the Hen basket tradition, using unpeeled willow, two hoops of willow will be woven and attached with willow binding at the handle. Then random weave commences with occasional loops over the two openings. This basket is great fun and shows how good structure can be created from randomness!

Summer Days Melon by Bonnie Gale

Summer Days Melon 

All levels | 9” x 14” x 10” varies | $75

Using unpeeled willow, students will chose two prepared and dried hoops. The hoops are attached with God’s Eye weaving. Ribs are added progressively into the weaving. This is a fun basket and shaping is on an individual basis for your own unique creation.

"Early American Life" Lunch Basket by Bonnie Gale

"Early American Life" Lunch Basket  

Beginner: 1 long day or easier 1.5 days | 12”X12”X12” | $58

This excellent beginning basket was featured in the October 1992 issue of the “Early American Life” magazine. It is made of unpeeled willow with a round base in pairing weave, followed by staking up, waling and flared siding in French randing weave. Top waling, double border and wrapped handle complete the basket.

French Cheese Basket by Bonnie Gale

French Cheese Basket 

Intermediate | 9”x9”x5” | $55

This basket is a classic cheese basket with a tension tray base. The scallomed stakes are followed by French slewed sides and a rod border. A separate lid is made similar to the base and is attached to the basket with two hinges. The basket is woven in peeled willow.

Wall Basket by Bonnie Gale

Wall Basket

Beginner | 6”x9”x 8” | $48

This small rectangular basket is a good introduction to “square work”. A small base is woven in a screw block. The stakes are then inserted, followed by a randed siding and a rod border. The back is made higher and a hole is left in the back for attaching to a wall.

Sciob Basket by Bonnie Gale


Beginner/Intermediate | 16”x16”x4” | $65

This classic Irish potato straining basket has a most unusual base design. There is an option of a ring of colored willow in the base weaving. After staking up, a foot wale is woven. The siding is in three-rod waling weave. The basket is completed with a large rod border.

Oval Muffin Basket by Bonnie Gale

Oval Muffin Basket

Beginner/Intermediate | 7”X11”X6“ | $55

This attractive table basket is a good introduction to oval willow work. An oval split-stick base is woven and then staked up. A special foot wale follows. The siding is in French randing with alternate colors of weavers. Top waling, border and two roped side handles complete this basket.

Scrap (or Wastepaper) Basket by Bonnie Gale

Scrap (or Wastepaper) Basket

Beginner/Intermediate | 14”X14”X11” | $52

This basket, made in buff willow, is a copy of an original Gustav Stickley basket design. A round base is woven in pairing weave. The base is double staked up, followed by an upsett of three rod wailing. The siding is in an English slewing weave. Top waling and a plaited border complete the basket.


Two Day Basketry Courses

American Carrier by Bonnie Gale

American Carrier

Intermediate | 6” x 12” x 14” | $70

This lovely oval carrier or shopper starts with an oval split stick base. Staking up is followed by a foot wale. The siding is in French randing and the long sides are packed higher. A plaited border follows top waling. There is a wrapped handle. This basket is a version of a traditional Liverpool, New York willow basket.

Hazelnut Basket by Bonnie Gale

Hazelnut Basket

Intermediate | 9” x 9” x 14” | $75

The hazelnut basket is made with fine peeled willow and is made over a wooden mold. The basket has a small round base (provided) with a foot wale and then staking up. Sets of French randing include middle and top waling, followed by a rod border. A tall wrapped handle completes the basket. There is a ring of white willow in the middle waling.

Elegant Purse by Bonnie Gale

Elegant Purse 

Intermediate/Advanced | 6.5” x 11” x 12” varies | $90 includes leather strap

This wonderful willow purse can be made to any height and does include a leather strap. The basket is made with the unique Spanish catalan base. An oval hoop is provided into which rods are woven which then become the stakes of the basket. Bottom waling is followed by a choice of weaves including French slewing with two color rods as well as zig zag weave. The top of the basket includes some packing for a curved top and border. Natural colors of willow allow design variations.

Bushel Basket by Bonnie Gale

Bushel Basket 

All Levels | 20”X20”X14” | $75

This large classic willow basket is suitable for all levels of students. Beginners will learn basic round willow techniques, while more advanced students can hone their control, shaping and roping skills. A medium sized 13 inch base is woven in pairing weave and then staked up with bottom waling. The French randing siding is completed with top waling and a large rod border. Two roped handles finish the basket and there is an optional removable foot.

English Square Shopper by Bonnie Gale

English Square Shopper

Intermediate | 11”X15”X 12” | $75

This classic English Shopper has a rectangular base which is made in a screwblock device with randing weave. After staking up and bottom waling, the sides are woven in an English slewing weave. The long sides of the basket are packed higher and the corners are “soft shoulders”. The rectangular border technique for soft shoulders will be taught followed by the insertion of a handle bow which is then wrapped. The basket is made in unpeeled willow.

Oval Muffin Basket by Bonnie Gale

Backpack Basket

Intermediate | 13”X18”X15 | $98 with cloth straps

This large backpack is made of unpeeled willow starting with a large oval split stick base. This oval base is woven in a combination of randing and pairing weave. Staking up, waling and sets of French randing weave compose the siding. A roped handle on the back completes the basket. A mold is not used and so the class will concentrate on shaping. Custom cloth straps are included in the materials fee.

Oval Muffin Basket by Bonnie Gale

Pocketbook or Fishing Creel  

Intermediate/Advanced | 7”X10”X9” | $115

This classic creel is woven on a loaned wooden mold. The lid can either be woven for a pocketbook or fishing use (the latter involves weaving a hole in the lid). A D shaped base is woven using scallomed stakes and randing weave. The sides are woven in French randing with much waling and packing in order to achieve the shape on the mold. Two holes are incorporated into the back of the basket for strap holes. A small rod border completes the basket. The lid is woven to fit the top of the basket. A rod is tied to the top shape and scallomed stakes are attached to this hoop. A branched willow twig is carved for the lid slide and woven into the lid. Back hinges and front fastenings will be taught. A leather and brass harness is included in the materials fee.

Oval Muffin Basket by Bonnie Gale

Camera Basket

Advanced | 5”X10”X 13” | $75 includes leather strap

This camera basket is woven in peeled willow without the use of a mold. The small rectangular base is woven in a loaned screwblock. Staking up is followed by siding in a particular English randing weave. Control of the shape is critical. Back strap holes are incorporated. A lid with a twig slide is incorporated. Fastenings and a leather strap complete the basket.

Crocane /Oval Arm Basket by Bonnie Gale

Crocane /Oval Arm Basket

Intermediate/Advanced | 14”X19”X13” | $75

The Crocane is a classic French oval arm basket, made of peeled willow. Special techniques to be taught include the oval split stick base woven in French randing; chase upsetting; some doubling of French randing in the siding and a double wrapped handle. There is an optional foot on the basket. The large double wrapped handle uses long rods which are roped.

Living Willow Structures Courses

Size varies; all levels; fee varies; one or two days

One and two day courses are available in living willow structure design and construction. The principles of “fedge” construction will be covered while students will be engaged in layout, design, planting, weaving and tying of the structure being built which may include a fence, dome or arbor. Willow varieties, site selection, soil preparation and maintenance will be covered. Kits of material may be available for purchase.

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Rustic Structures Courses

Bentwood Trellis by Bonnie Gale

Bentwood Trellis

All Levels | 6 feet by 2 feet (varies) | $75 | One Day

In this one day workshop, students will be provided with willow and other woods necessary to build a large full size bentwood trellis for the garden. Wire and nails will be used to secure the pieces of wood. The class will cover types and sources of wood, hardware, construction, design and installation.

Hurdles and Trellises for the Garden by Bonnie Gale

Hurdles and Trellises for the Garden

All Levels | Size Varies | $89 | Two Days

In this workshop, three items to take home will be made over the two days. Firstly, a small hurdle or woven fence (3 feet by 18 inches tall) will be built. This will be followed by the building of two different garden plant supports: an English hoop trellis that measures 2 feet in diameter; and a 6 foot pea cage for climbing plants. All three structures will be built in the ground and then removed. Willow and other woods will be provided.

Rustic Mirrors by Bonnie Gale

Rustic Mirrors

All Levels | Size Varies | Fee Varies | One or Two Days

Rustic mirror making in the Adirondack camp tradition will be pursued over one or two days. A backboard will be provided with mirror glass. Willow and other green woods will be cut to frame the board and glass. Birch bark and birch twigs will be provided for students to explore decoration of the mirror. The two day class will involve the building of a larger mirror with a shelf and the option of scene painting will be explored.